One of the most striking things about the impact of the COVID pandemic, is the rise of online Spiritualist services, with over 40 services available most days, advertised on the Online Spiritualist Church Services Facebook page.
In the UK, there have been a number of periods of complete lockdown since 2020. It left people feeling isolated, and unable to visit places of worship, who provided much needed spiritual and emotional support.
The impact on Spiritualist churches has been quite telling, with no source of income leading some to close down.
But an alternative was on the horizon.
Originally founded in 2011, this online meeting platform has grown in popularity with the business world, and at the beginning of the COVID pandemic had over 2.22 million users.
By April 2020, Zoom had an incredible 300 million daily meeting participants, and it wasn’t long before Spiritualist churches began to hold online services and healing.
The Zoom app is free to download, but churches and hosts pay a monthly subscription, and we also pay a monthly fee to Spotify to use music in our services.
If you attend an online service. please do consider making a small donation towards the running costs of the meeting hosts.
Zoom is simple to download and use on your phone , tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
The Practicalities Of Online Mediumship
Firstly , it does require the mastery of the Zoom dashboard. The meetings are presided over by hosts and co hosts, who are also able to call up images and share music with the participants.
Access to the meeting is by the use of a generated link or login details to join the meeting. This can be advertised in advance on social media platforms.
Rather than have everyone’s microphones on, all participants are asked to mute, and then unmute if the Medium comes to them with a message.
We think direct Mediumship, where the Medium selects the recipient, works better on Zoom, rather than the Medium asking for participants to come forward if they recognise a name or a description.
In terms of the Mediumship, the spirits come through to the Medium (regardless of where they are), and then guide the Medium to select the recipient of the message from images on screen. Which is one of the reasons why we insist that cameras are always on.
But it’s possible to use Zoom for more than just demonstrations of Mediumship, with many churches now holding regular Healing meetings. Spiritual Art classes and lectures, with some Spiritualists even running full blown training courses via the Zoom platform.
Our own church runs a Closed Circle on Zoom, and will be looking to do more online next year, as we wait for our beautiful new church to be built.
A Learning Curve
Our team spent a few months watching and learning from other Spiritualist churches who held online services. Our first few meetings were a little nervy, and had the odd moment of panic from the hosts.
But we’ve got the hang of it and now hold busy weekly Divine Services using Zoom.
The Benefits of Online Services
Firstly, COVID is still on the back burner, and people are rightly cautious about gathering in enclosed spaces.
It’s been fantastic to see people with restricted mobility, who would struggle to attend a physical meeting, able to participate.
Given the financial hardships of 2022, and the regular train and bus strikes, we think that Zoom meetings are here to stay.
It’s also been wonderful to meet and share services with people from literally all over the world, as distance is no barrier on Zoom. During one of our Divine Services, one of our Medium’s selected a lady and described to her the uniform of the Canadian Mounted Police, before realising she was actually in Canada !
We are also aware that new attendees may feel conscious about travelling to a church, and meeting new people, and feel more comfortable taking those first steps in Spiritualism, from the comfort of their own home,
Given the time differences , Spiritualists in the UK can usually find day time services available to join, hosted in another part of the world.
We are also hoping that the increased interest in online meetings will spark the interest of the younger generation, as we reach out to the next generation of Spiritualists.